'Flavor has gotten phenomenal:' Plant-based product sales boom, but how do they really taste?

MILWAUKEE -- Whether you're doing it for health reasons, moral reasons, or just to say you tried it, plant-based products have sprouted up at fast-food spots, restaurants, and the grocery store. While it's one of the hottest food trends of 2020, FOX6 wanted to know what's in the products, and how they taste.

Gone are the days when tofu was one of the only options for people looking for alternative protein sources.

The plant-based food business is booming. Officials with grocery stores across the country and in southeastern Wisconsin said they've seen month-to-month growth in sales.

Marketed as a meat alternative that's more nutritious, more delicious, and rather hip, plant-based foods and drinks line store shelves -- and they're not just for people who don't eat meat.

"They do want to replace maybe one meal a week and call themselves flexitarians that way," said Kimberly Uecker with Roundy's Supermarkets. "They're still going out for steak occasionally, but they want to eat something that's vegan once in a while."

If you're curious about making the switch, a look at the ingredient list on this products shows nothing but vegetables. Beet juice helps give the meatless burgers that crispy look.

FOX6 wanted to know how they tasted, so we walked the aisles at Metro Market to give shoppers a sample and get their reviews.

Our first taste tester couldn't get enough and called the burger "smooth."

It was a repeat review from our second tester, who asked for another piece.

Some testers knew right away this wasn't actual meat, based on look and taste.

If you want to peruse plant-based options, our nutritionist said there may be one drawback: These items are typically a little higher in sodium.

"For some people, that's not quite as crucial, but for other people who do watch their sodium content of food, this could be a little elevated," said Uecker.

One more thing to note: If you do go completely meatless, the experts recommend having an additional source of iron, which you don't find in plant-based products.

Try loading up your plate with some spinach or broccoli.